As we ease into a new decade, our inboxes will inevitably fill up with “last-chance offers” for discounted gym memberships and juice cleanses galore. While I don’t think there is anything wrong with a gym membership or a juice cleanse, I’ve been wondering…what if there was a more meaningful way to approach the new year? I appreciate the symbolism of a clean slate as much as anyone, which is why I believe what we do with this fresh start really matters.
I am a goal-setter, a somewhat obsessive planner, a list-maker. Sometimes (a lot of times) my drive comes at the expense of trusting my heavenly Father. I so easily buy into the sleek, fast, do-it-yourself ambition of the world rather than the easy, light, trusting spirit that characterizes the way of Jesus. I recently reread His words about the lilies of the field, and they resonated in a new way:
“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,
yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive
and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you,
O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying,
‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows
that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God
and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
• Matthew 6:28-33 •
It made me realize: that is how I want to live. Neither toiling nor spinning but instead trusting that God will clothe me beautifully as I seek first His kingdom. It also made me realize that a lot of my planning has been rooted in anxiety, fueled by the false belief that I have to strive to make things happen for myself on my own timeline rather than trusting God to provide what I need when I need it.
As I embrace this new year, I am praying to exchange anxiety for trust. I am planning and setting goals and dreaming big dreams, yes, but I am also taking another step: surrendering those goals to the safe hands of our Father. I want to hold this year’s plans with open hands instead of gripping them tightly between clenched fists.
Today as I write this, we are three days away from 2020. And I’m asking myself: what if instead of tenaciously seeking first my own goals, I wholeheartedly seek first His Kingdom? What if—what if—that is the one goal that truly matters and all the rest are just icing on the proverbial cake?
These are the things I am carrying in my heart into this new year, and I am praying that my small seeds of faith will bear fruit in ways that I cannot begin to imagine. Thankfully, this way of living is not a “last-chance offer” we have to buy before midnight but an every day, every hour, every moment invitation to leave behind the competition and striving of the world and instead pursue the simplicity of God’s kingdom.